When we did that 4,000 word Philadelphia Inquirer story last year, one of the employees we spoke with mentioned that the newsroom would be underdoing a “reconfiguration” in 2022.
Turns out it’s actually more than that, it’s a move entirely, with the Inquirer relocating to a different building a few blocks away.
The Philadelphia Inquirer is negotiating a lease that will move it to 100 Independence Mall, the mid-century landmark still often known as the Rohm & Haas building after its original namesake tenant.
The newspaper will occupy 34,000 square feet on the sixth floor of the building, about 60 percent less space than it currently fills at the former Strawbridge’s building at 801 Market St., Inquirer vice president Lydia Hamilton said in an online meeting Monday.
The move is intended to better match the Inquirer’s hybrid work model after workers return from what has been about two years of working from home, Hamilton said. It will also save the paper about $1 million a year, she said.
Rob goes on to say that the space will open in Q1, 2023, and that the move is being “planned with the expectation that much employee work will continue to be done at home or off-site, with the office being used primarily for collaborative tasks.”
That’s fascinating, and folks we spoke to last year noted that a survey of the newsroom revealed that most people (upward of 75%) would like to continue to work from home. Journalism is mostly done in the field, so working for the Inquirer isn’t like your typical 9-5 cubicle job at Initech, where Bill Lumberg comes around and says “hello Peter, what’s happening? uhhhhh… yeah… I’m gonna need you to come in on Saturday.” Most of the sports writers never even go into the building at all, but you have editors and page designers and other types all in the same spot and collaborating and working together. Obviously during COVID the Inquirer kind of shifted their approach to in-person work in the same way that everybody else did.
This will actually be the second time the Inquirer has moved in the last decade. Back in 2011, the Inky came down from Broad and Spring Garden, the location that now houses the School District of Philadelphia headquarters (edit – I was one block off, the old building was Broad and CALLOWHILL, aka 400 North Broad, which was purchased by the city and is going to be turned into the new police HQ)
Wrote Bob Fernandez back then:
Philadelphia Media Network will shrink its newsroom and office space to 125,000 square feet from its current 525,000 square feet at Broad and Callowhill Streets. About 740 employees work at 400 N. Broad; 600 will relocate to the new location. Employees also could relocate to existing facilities in Montgomery County or South Jersey.
Another change for the Inquirer. It’s intriguing to watch the transformation of the flagship media outlet in the region. Ten years ago, they moved from a 525,000 square foot building to 125,000 SF, and now down to 34,000. 8th and Market was kind of funky, and people I spoke to over the years didn’t seem to like it there. It just felt kind of cavernous and empty, if that makes sense. But now with digital being what it is, you don’t need a gargantuan building on Market Street or Broad Street.